Do You See Yourself Having A Wonderful Retirement?

What is your vision for retirement? 

  • Work till your 65 (or 67), retire, and then … what? 
  • Take an early retirement because you “want out”?
  • Build up your business until it is worth a lot, sell it, and then … what?
  • Work without thinking about it because you are too busy to contemplate the question?
  • Regard your business as an essential part of your life that you can’t see yourself without?
  • See retirement as a concept that needs redefining?

The idea of retirement is an old one. Most of our parents had one job for their entire careers. There was a retirement age that marked the next stage of their lives. Many people kept saying over the years that they would pick up their hobbies again when they had more time. That is when they are retired. They will travel more. They will have more time to hike. They will have more time to spend with people they love.

It makes sense, perfect sense! Or does it? 

One thing that has changed is that we don’t have just one career anymore. Also, we live longer. The official retirement age is moving up to 67 1/2 if you want full benefits (in the U.S.). The average life expectancy in the U.S. in 2019 was 81 for women and 76 for men. That is four years longer for women and six years longer for men compared to 1980. 

In other words, we live longer and more fluid lives than our parents did. 

Many people dream of that retirement day in some vague way. They don’t prepare for the transition. 

Others take a different approach altogether. Ditch retirement and live the way you like all along. Or, at least, do your best to orchestrate that.

Here is my philosophy: I strive to do what I love and where I feel I make a difference. I do my best to organize my work to have a dynamic work-life harmony. 

To be fair, that doesn’t always happen. Last year, I made a concerted push to create the Brilliance Mining Program, which took much effort. During the summer, our son was in a two-week camp. My husband and I went to the Hill Country, camping at Inks Lake and Whitney Lake. We had brought our motorboat and an inflatable kayak to this 10-day adventure. I had moved some of my client appointments, but I had not moved them all. It was a lack of planning that led to some stress.

At the start of this year, I decided that I could not fill every week of the year with client-facing work. I had to make some changes. I have done that. To me, it is about conducting your life throughout – rather than waiting to the day of your retirement. I don’t want to wait for my trekking adventure in Nepal till I’m 67 1/2. 

We have to take – and create – these opportunities while we can. We don’t know what life has in store for us, and deferring your adventures and pleasures is a dangerous gamble.

 By the way, I thank my friends Tina and Brad Malmberg and my son Dylan for their brilliant insights and moral support while writing this nugget. Their valuable and comedic input while driving us through the hinterlands of Texas was inspirational beyond measure.

I’m Curious

What is your philosophy around the concept of “retirement”?

Live Brilliantly,

Dr. Stephie

P.S.: I appreciate you commenting and sharing this Brilliance Nugget with others. Thank you!

Stephie Althouse

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